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Health on Twelfth
There’s something to be said for asking what people want and then offering it. And that’s the mentality behind a comprehensive new project of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a free health resource center at Twelfth and Cedar streets that’s being tailored to what residents want.
Lanita White, director of the center, said even now UAMS is working in partnership with public service students at the Clinton School to gather information from the community through various means to plan out future programs of the center, which celebrated its ribbon cutting Dec. 7 and will open Jan. 7.
“That will really guide what we do next. I’m very anxious to see those results,” she said.
To begin, the center will offer a certain degree of guidance and consultation. Not necessarily diagnoses, White said, but consultation about things like cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure and how to live with those. Dental screenings and advising on how to do things like shop on a budget to eat healthy are also part of the plan.
One thing that makes the center unique to the area, however, is that it is entirely volunteer driven and will be largely run by students throughout the colleges of UAMS: nursing, pharmacy, medicine, public health and health professions. They will work under the direction of volunteer professions from the fields in which they study. The idea, said White, is to create an interdisciplinary learning environment.
“A lot of times when you get into the workplace you haven’t had that experience,” she said. “The first thing you pick up coming from pharmacy may not be the first thing you pick up on coming from nursing. So this is a chance to sit down and see all sides of an issue to make the course clear.”
Days and hours of operation of the center are still to be determined as the next semester’s schedules are set, but White said it’s important that evening hours are part of operation. The whole idea is to be accessible to the community, she said.
“We’ve got to make sure what we’re doing is relevant and fits everyone’s life,” she said.